Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Pictures, pictures, pictures

The old cliche says that a picture paints a thousand words, but in this writing game, a picture can help to sell your thousand words. 

As soon as I started supplying pictures with my articles, I found my success rate improve drastically. Now, over the years, I've continued to learn as much as I can about photography, and I have a Digital SLR camera. This means that I can provide editors with high quality, A3 pictures, capable of being used for double-paged spreads. Country & Border Life magazine regularly begin my walking features with such a double page spread. I was surprised this month to find that the magazine had used one of my pictures on the front cover.

However, you don't need a fancy camera to take pictures. When you analyse a magazine's words, take time to look at the pictures too. How big do they use them? Many magazines use relatively small images, less than 6x4 size. Most instamatic type cameras are more than capable of producing images of this size suitable for magazine production. 

When out taking pictures, the golden rule is FILL THE FRAME. Don't have the stately home looking like a rabbit hutch in in amongst a sea of countryside. Zoom in and make the building fill the picture.

"But I don't have a camera!" I hear you cry. Don't worry. It's still possible to supply a complete words and pictures package. I've written several articles where the Press Relations department of a company have been able to supply me with the pictures. Organisations such as The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Landmark Trust and the clothing company, Hawkshead have all been able to help me out with pictures. If you're writing an article which provides good publicity for a company, many will be more than willing to help out.

I'm just reading the current issue of Writers News magazine and inside, two editors are making the point. Martin Smith of Railway Bylines magazine says, "It doesn't matter how good an article is, if I can source appropriate photographs, I can't use it." Notice how the editor says 'source' appropriate photographs.  Even if you can't supply the images yourself, if you know where an editor may be able to find suitable images, then give them the contact details.

Laura Quiggan of Cat World magazine says that she is always happy to receive reader's stories, and factual articles especially when accompanied by high resolution digital images

How many letters pages do you see these days where a picture can be found alongside?

So you see, getting published these days not only means producing the right words for the right publication. You also need to be thinking about the pictures as well.

Good luck.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I totally agree with Simon´s comments. I have decided to upgrade my digital camera - check out Panasonic Lumix range - they are getting great reviews. I opted for TZ3 as it also came highly recommended from another writer/photographer.